I have long been a fan of Peter James and before the emergence of his Roy Grace detective series he had written some notable horror stories, most memorable Sweet Heart and Prophecy. Unfortunately Love You Dead (Roy Grace 12) has all the hallmarks of an author attempting to keep not only his fans happy (really?) but also his publisher content by writing a formulaic story with poor content and laughable plot.
A black widow Jodie Carmichael is set upon marrying the super rich and then immediately disposing of them thereby inheriting all their wealth. She is active in Brighton and our ever vigilant Roy Grace is tasked with the job of bringing her to justice. In a scene reminiscent of a 70's cop show detective Norman Potting is sent undercover as a rich single American to flush out the merry widow. Equally ridiculous a villain called Tooth has been sent by a group of Russian gangsters to retrieve a valuable memory stick (stolen by Mz Carmichael) which is said to contain information and addresses relating to gangsters throughout Europe.....his task to annihilate Mz Carmichael. In order to accomplish this he disguises himself as an elderly doting little old lady called Thelma Darby!
So a story that I presume is to be a half serious attempt as a Detective novel is turned into farce reminiscent of a British Ealing Comedy. If you add to this the fact that DS Roy Grace does not actually make a real appearance or contribution until 150 pages in then you can see why I am disappointed in an author I have great respect for producing such a mediocre piece of fiction. I am only thankful that I did not actually purchase this book but rather borrowed from my local library and I shall be returning it there post-haste!!